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Rob P S

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I'm a big Paul Westerberg fan. I think 14 Songs and Eventually are excellent discs, and Suicaine Gratifaction is very good. Can anybody give me a review of Stereo? Also, which Replacements discs are the essential ones to start with, for one who doesn't have any. Are they all still in print? Thanks.
 

Will_B

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Westerberg's current release, STEREO (with the bonus disc MONO hidden within the digipack) is truly the resurrection of an artist. I'd nearly written him off after his tepid solo records (14 SONGS and EVENTUALLY and SUICAINE GRATIFACTION). I truly tried to like them, but couldn't. But after taking several years off, he's really back. Did anyone see him on Letterman? If you thought he looked strange, with that weird hat, that was because he went on as "Grandpa Boy", rather than as himself (thus, the rock cliches - leather pants, silly hat, etc). He bringing fun back into his playing again!

So, STEREO by Paul Westerberg is essential.

The essential discs by his former group The Replacements, or the 'mats as they are known, are the following three. These are the trio most everyone suggests:

LET IT BE

TIM

PLEASED TO MEET ME

Buy those three in reverse order to what I listed; I listed them chronologically. Now, some words about these.

PLEASED TO MEET ME is the most modern of the productions, and should be easy to like. It is, for lack of a better word, rockin'. Contains the Westerberg classic "Skyway". If you go to his shows, you need to know how to sing along to this gentle little number, because everyone will.

TIM is an album that brought them to Saturday Night Live for the first time (from which they were then banned); it was their major label debut, and it had a wonderful mix of rock and midtempo tunes, about teenagers growing up... very much like The Lemonheads did later with Shame About Ray. If you like that Lemonheads you'll like this too. Some of Paul's best writing, and the best playing. But be prepared to be disappointed in the sound quality - it needs remastering. Even the lp sounded pretty muddy.

LET IT BE is an early album, and only get this if you like listening to early albums to get a sense of how the band was taking shape. It is arguably the best album from their early days (some would say HOOTENANNY is). It was their first album to mark a shift from the sloppy, bar-band kind of music to something more introspective. So alongside tunes like "Gary's Got a Boner" you'll find a couple songs about loneliness and rejection...and being your self.

--

Addendum:

Then, I'd get DONT TELL A SOUL (but be prepared for overly-slick modern production values that utterly sap the life out of what could have been a great, quiet, introspective, depressing album).

Then I'd get their early disc HOOTENANNY, but be prepared for amateur production values, and simple (and silly) lyrics.

I would not bother with SORRY MA FORGOT TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH or with STINK, though STINK is a good garage band/high school level ep, raucous. They were in their early teens at the time.

I wouldn't bother with their final album, ALL SHOOK DOWN, unless you found a used copy for $5 or $6 - it isn't really a Replacements album as they all played seperately (shades of the Beatles) and session musicians filled in on some songs. Way too much of an effort to write hooks in the lyrics, and just generally weak.

Oh, I almost forgot - "Grandpa Boy" released a CD-EP a couple years ago that you can SOMETIMES still find. It only has five or six songs but it is worth getting if you liked the MONO half of STEREO. It should not be confused with the limited edition release of MONO.
 

Mark Cappelletty

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Don't be so hard on "Sorry Ma..." and "Stink." The songs "Fuck School" and "God Damn Job" got me through my college years! And "Hootennanny" is a classic. The Replacements pretty much lost it after "Pleased To Meet Me" in my book.

I like the new Westerberg a lot, too. While I like "Eventually," I was so bored by "14 Songs" and "Suicane Gratifaction" that I recently sold them. Saw him perform in-store at Amoeba Records in Hollywood. Good stuff!
 

RobertW

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being a huge replacements fan, the new westerberg album is the best solo work he's done yet. it took a couple of listens for it to all sink in, but i love it. it's not a great album by any means, but a huge step above everything else he's done post replacements, and a good start on what will hopefully be a string of excellent releases in the future.

i also got a chance to see his instore, at the virgin records in boston, and it was great. informal, off the cuff, and fun. glad i got to see it.

will called it pretty well, but i think let it be is extremely vital, and contains my favorite replacements song, "unsatisfied". and don't tell a soul is a great album, even if it is a bit slick, but the songs are terrific. even stink is a must have, if just for "go" and sorry ma does have "johnny's gonna die" on it, which is brilliant. but those two are mostly the replacements trying to be hardcore, and that really wasn't what they were about as a band.

so i'm biased, but i think every replacements album has something going for it, and is worth owning.
 

Rob P S

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I just picked up "Stereo" this week and I like it a lot. The "Mono" disc is better because it rocks out more, but the "Stereo" disc is also very good. I like all three of Paul's solo discs, and I'm looking forward to starting a Replacements collection.
 

RobertW

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if you pick up the replacements, then you will find out why most of us long-time replacements fans have been a bit disappointed in paul's solo career. i can understand why you love his solo releases, but once you hear the replacements you can see how he was capable of so much more as a solo artist.

stereo/mono seems to be the first step in the right direction to recapture that spirit and songwriting ability that made the 'mats so good.
 

Ben Motley

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What the? So this "digipak", is that just another name for jewel case? If I just go pick up STEREO at Best Buy, will MONO be in it?
I also LOVE Stink and Sorry Ma... great energy on those. :emoji_thumbsup:
 

Ken_McAlinden

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I believe that they have yet to package a copy of Stereo that does not include Mono, although there is no indication on the exterior. Both discs are excellent, although Westerberg has finally made the leap from Suicane Gratifaction, where he gussied up his demo recordings with a few overdubs and a producer's help, to Stereo/Mono where he just mastered his demos for disc.

Regards,
 

Will_B

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Digipack is the word for a cardboard case.

By the way you can't SEE the Mono disc even if you look really closely; you just have to trust that is IS in there. He intentionally hid it because he didn't want retailers raising the price to double-CD levels.

I made the mistake of listening to Suiciaine again, hoping it would sound as good as MONO/STEREO, and now I've got that darmned "I get up from a dream and I look for rain. Take an amphetamine and a crushed rat's brain. How am I feeling? Better, I suppose" line in my head. Oh the humanity. I have to trash those before I make the mistake of playing them again.

That said, STEREO and MONO have plenty of hooks too, but at least they're good ones! "Let's not belong together..."
 

Grant B

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Gotta find my copy of 'when the shit hits the fan'.Think they only put it out on cassette at the time

glad to hear paul put out something good but i sure miss the 'too drunk to stand but i can stll play a mean guitar' paul
 

Vanessa

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You can sort of tell that Mono is in there - since it's loose in the cardboard sleeve, if you shake it a little you can hear and feel something moving around. That's the Mono disc...

V
 

Rob P S

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Since then, I've bought Sorry Ma, Tim, Pleased to Meet Me, and Don't Tell a Soul, and haven't been disappointed by any of them. Tim is my favorite of the bunch. I still have to get Hootenanny and Let It Be. I don't buy EP's so I probably won't get Stink, and I had All Shook Down on cassette ten years ago - don't remember too much about it, and I probably won't be upgrading that, either.
Any opinions on the new Westerberg/Grandpaboy material?
 

KrisM

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I was talking to my dad last night he heard that he released a blues album recently. Anybody know what this is about?

Regards

KrisM
 

Rob P S

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That would probably be Dead Man Shake, which he released under the name Grandpaboy.
 

Ken_McAlinden

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I don't buy EP's so I probably won't get Stink
Why wouldn't you buy an EP if it consists entirely of material that isn't available anywhere else and is priced less than a full-length release? Plus, why would anyone not buy an EP that has a song as great as "Go" on it. :)
Regards,
 

Rob P S

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When you have as many discs to buy and favorite artists as I do, you have to draw the line somewhere, or else you have to buy a second house to hold them all. :)
 

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